Benicio Del Toro set to play Kingpin of the Cuban-American Mafia in ‘The Corporation’!

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Benicio Del Toro is set to play Jose Miguel Battle Sr., the Don of a Cuban-American Mafia, in a soon to be made film.

Del Toro will star in The Corporation which is a book of the same name written by author T.J. English and highlights the Cuban-American underworld.

Paramount Pictures & The Appian Way production company—owned by Actor Leonardo DiCaprio—were the victors in acquiring the rights to the book-to-film adaptation after a bidding war between Hollywood studios & production companies broke out last week. The film has been cited as becoming the “Cuban Version” of the The Godfather & American Gangster.”

The film’s screenplay will be written by David Matthews who has penned scripts for HBO series Boardwalk Empire & Vinyl and will surely capture the book’s “epic story” of the Cuban-American crime syndicate, The Corporation.

Del Toro will portray Jose Miguel Battle Sr. who was the head of the Cuban-American mafia. Prior to becoming the Godfather of the Cuban mafia, Battle Sr. was a former police officer during President Fulgencio Batista’s presidency prior to the Cuban Revolution; in the early 60s, he also assisted the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in training Cuban exiles, and volunteered as a soldier in the Cuban liberation effort of the Bay of Pigs Invasion in April 1961 in-which he was captured. After being released, Battle Sr. moved to Union City, New Jersey were he began The Corporation empire.

This is the first time Del Toro has portrayed an influential figure of the underworld. In Escobar: Paradise Lost, Del Toro played Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar so he is surely able to get into the mindset of what it takes to be the leader of such an organization.

There’s no word yet when the film goes into production, but so far it has Hollywood buzzing.

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Selena Gomez interested in Older Men!

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Selena Gomez has expressed interest in dating older men, however she feels that older men may not feel the same due to her very young appearance.

In a recent interview, Gomez revealed that while she would be interested in dating men who are older she feels that the feeling may not be mutual because she still looks like a teenager.

I feel like I look 16 sometimes, which is a bummer because I would love to date older guys,” the 23-year-old singer/actress revealed.

When it comes to her youthful appearance, the former Disney Channel star has made critical remarks about her teenage appearance. Back in October, while appearing on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live Gomez made a similar comment to host Andy Cohen when asked if she was dating a fellow celebrity.

Now I know I look 16, but I’m 24,” Gomez told Cohen after he asked if she were romantic tied with David & Victoria Beckham’s 16-year-old son Brooklyn Beckham.

Age in years or appearance aside, in the interview Gomez also revealed that dating and meeting new guys in-general is particularly hard for her because her life has been a source of entertainment gossip which makes dating quite hard.

It’s hard, and I’m weirded out by the idea that a guy has Googled me before we meet, and that has happened,” Gomez describes, “I never intended for my life to become a tabloid story.”

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Alpo Martinez: Where is the Infamous Harlem Drug Kingpin?

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Alberto “Alpo” Martinez is a name that most will not know, however if you happen to be a New York City resident or are a history enthusiast with a preference on the War on Drugs plight within the United States of America then you may have heard of his name as the legend, the myth, as one of the Drug Kingpins of Harlem.

However, like all popular Drug Kingpins–like El Chapo–who earn themselves a recognizable legacy the empire they’ve built tends to fall as does the legend who sits upon it.

But whatever became of Alpo?

For the last 25 years, Alpo has been believed to have been a resident of ADX Florence which is a federal supermax prison located in Fremont County, Colorado serving a 35-year sentence for 14 counts of homicide. However, according to those who are connected to Alpo that is no longer the case.

It is rumored that for the past few years Alpo has been out of prison, but the last place you may ever see him is back in New York City.

Back in the mid-1980s, during the early days of when the USA began its quest to combat drug-trafficking into the country in what has become known as the War on Drugs13-year-old Puerto Rican boy named Alberto Martinez—Alpo to those on the streets—rose in prominence within Harlem as a Drug Kingpin.

With a drug trade that consisted of transporting hundreds of kilos of crack-cocaine through various parts of New York City, other Northeast cities, and most noticeably Washington D.C.—where he lived during the last few days of his drug empire—Alpo became somewhat a street legend due to his dangerous lifestyle. Alpo’s life was eventually adapted into a 2002 movie entitled Paid in Full that starred rapper Cam’ron as Alpo.

He brought attention to himself. He was charismatic and outgoing. He had a party always going on around him and people gravitated to him,” remembers Kevin Chiles, a former Harlem drug dealer who knew Alpo, in a recent interview with Vice magazine back in 2015 where he disclosed that Alpo is no longer in prison.

While he was a legend for flashing his millionaire wealth with expensive cars, clothes, and jewelry, Alpo was also widely known for committing several murders during his drug kingpin reign.

In the 1990s, Alpo was involved in several murders that made him notorious. However, there was one murder that would begin the dismantling of both his drug empire and his legacy.

On January 3, 1990, Alpo and an accomplice murdered Rich Porter who was Alpo’s one time friend and actually sold drugs with when teenagers. It was Alpo murdering Porter that led those who once revered him to turn their backs on him.

Rich’s death had a huge impact on Harlem. The timing couldn’t have been worse,” said Chiles, “Richard was in the middle of negotiating the release of his 12-year-old brother, Donnell, who had been kidnapped and was being held for $500,000 ransom. Rich was killed, and then a few days later the body of his little brother was found in the same vicinity.”

While the death of Porter dented Alpo’s reputation, the silver bullet that would destroy his legacy would come after Alpo choose to testify against his former enforcer. Before an open court, Alpo turned on his former Washington D.C. enforcer in order to avoid serving a life sentence for the murders he had been arrested for committing.

After breaking the street law of snitching, Alpo was to serve as reduce sentence of 35 years for 14 counts of murder. However back in September of 2015, according to Don Diva magazine—a magazine developed by Chiles in prison that is devoted to the drug underworld and New York City street life—Alpo has been out of prison for the last few years.

Despite being rumored to being out of prison, the chances of Alpo returning to New York City is very slim.

I am most certain that Alpo won’t come back to New York. He knows he has a bullseye on him. That situation with Rich left Harlem scarred and people have strong feelings about it,” said Chiles, talking about the possibility of Alpo returning to NYC. “I could see a younger dude, on the come-up, try to make a name for themselves by taking Alpo out. They would be instantly infamous. I’m sure these are things he should be considering.”

So, where is Alpo Martinez? That is a question that may not be answered.

Mario Lopez: I Workout for Sanity, Not Vanity

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By Giselle Rodriguez-Forte

Mario Lopez is underrated. Not so much as Hollywood stock—the media and public love him—but there’s more to the Mexican-American public figure than his audience may appreciate. Ironically, the bright light his shiny star casts may shadow Lopez’s altruistic efforts.

What some people don’t realize: Lopez is a humanitarian. This is a man who deserves to be on every Latino list concocted by everyone from HBO to People, Sabado Gigante, and abuelas in Washington Heights; he is genuinely interested in creating positive projects and he always keeps his Latino roots at the forefront of those endeavors. His dear friend, Eva Longoria, always makes the popularity and groundbreaker lists! As “they” say, show me who you roll with and I’ll show you who you are (I paraphrase loosely), then it’s suffice to acknowledge Lopez is worthy of the same accolades and recognition.

People reveal themselves without realizing it. This is how I knew Mario Lopez remains grounded despite the uphill trajectory he’s riding: when the phone interview for this article was scheduled, his camp told me to call him directly. It’s a simple, almost unnoticeable detail, but it’s the sort of thing that discreetly says; I am down-to-Earth. There is no phantom yellow tape between him and the world. And bottom line, there’s enough success under his belt to activate his ego. But he remains humble, and the man works.

Ryan Seacrest is rumored to be the hardest workingman in the entertainment business; I’m going to throw Lopez’s name into the ring as a contender. It takes a lot of stamina and energy, both physically and spiritually, to have the wherewithal to not only show up for the activities in his insanely busy life, but to excel at all of them. And not only does he do it, he makes it look easy.

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Before speaking with Lopez I did a little journalistic homework. I take that back, a ‘little’ is an understatement because he has a lot going on, and most of it always circles back to the empowerment of his Latino community, celebrating his roots, and following a healthy lifestyle.

Let’s begin at the obvious. Saved by the Bell, which has to be mentioned because, well, it’s a new-school classic playing on the television all the time. Lopez has been a household name since we saw him pirouette in spandex back at Bayside High. These days you can see him hamming it up with Maria Menounos on E!’s Extra!, and as of late, as host of X-Factor (which he just wrapped). But there’s more, there’s a whole bunch of other stuff you may not have heard of yet, but should really take the time to check out.

Did you know he’s penned numerous children’s books, a fitness book, and two cookbooks (published by Celebra, Penguin Books)? One of which, Extra Lean: The Fat-Burning Plan That Changes the Way You Eat for Life (written with Jimmy Peña) made the NY Times bestseller list! There’s no tell-all memoir on his literary resume, nothing to avenge, they are all books written from a positive place – one of them is about him and his daughter, Mario and Baby Gia! Get
more adorable, please.

When I ask about his constant affiliation with health and family, Lopez remarks, “I workout for sanity, not vanity. And that sort of lifestyle, although it obviously helps you physically, it also helps keep my energy up with everything I do, and in turn helps me come home and enjoy and appreciate what I have there.”

Even his literary accomplishments spotlight the family unit. The children’s books and cookbooks are all family friendly. And the recipes and lifestyle he celebrates focus on eating in a nutritious way, rather than limiting oneself to a restrictive diet.

Lopez has also been hard at work on his new series with NuvoTV, Mario Lopez: One on One. He not only serves as laid-back interviewer for the project, he’s also an executive producer on the show (along with his cousin—there goes the family card again). He seems effortless in the room with the A-Listers he’s speaking with; as a viewer you feel like you’ve been allowed to sit in on a private conversation with Mario and a buddy (sometimes his buddy is Mark Sanchez, sometimes it’s Gloria Estefan). And although it’s candid, there’s none of the awkwardness that sometimes comes with one-on-one interviews in which the reporter attempts to have some deep secret revealed on the show; it’s obvious Lopez is not interested in airing out anyone’s dirty laundry.

He says it best when describing his efforts for the project, “I hope it inspires. I want to showcase Latinos who have been successful… and give other Latinos someone to look up to. If they can relate to who I’m sitting with, then hopefully that will make it easier to inspire them.”

There’s something to this theory. Watch his interview with Gloria and Emilio Estefan and you’ll comprehend what he’s saying; he makes these untouchable public figures accessible. Suddenly Gloria reminds you of your sister, or tia, and the wall of “they’re better than me” dissipates. It’s an unconscious way to inspire; feeling equal to those you look up to can help with self-esteem, motivation, and make acquiring your own goals more attainable.

I almost forgot! He also has a radio show on 104.3MYfm, and is the animated voice of a rag doll for Sprout’s The Chica Show. I am literally running out of space to talk about everything he does. He’s not all talk, and not all preachy either. Lopez is no stranger to controversy—but who isn’t. The difference is he’s had his challenges in the public eye. We all have a past, what matters is the present.

These days, if you go to his Twitter page you’ll find photo after photo of his lovely daughter Gia, gorgeous wife Courtney, and a variety of cute nephews and nieces (he’s Latino, as you can imagine, family members run deep). He’s a good ol’ Catholic boy who loves his family, appreciates where he’s come from, and walks the line. He’s also admitted to being an active member of his parish. I asked him about his faith, he responds, “…it’s helped me with structure, clarity…I owe everything to being very blessed, and I don’t take that for granted.” He doesn’t push any religious talk on me; it’s a simple declaration of how faith continues to fortify his foundation of gratitude. It’s a little cynical to think this way, but often I question a celebrity’s affiliation with particular organizations and charities. Intentions can sometimes be fuzzy. Are they representing this or that because it’s fashionable, or an applicable tax write-off—because in Hollywood charities are trendy, too.

Yet even with his organization of choice, Mario’s connection runs deeper than the surface. He is a fitness ambassador for the Boys and Girls Club of America. “My parent’s were great, but they worked. I used to go to the Boys Club after school, it still hadn’t merged with the Girls Club at the time. I spent my time there. That’s where I was introduced to wrestling. It kept me busy, focused, and off the streets.” Mario is not the only celebrity to fondly recall the Club as a safe haven; Latinos Victor Rasuk and Rosario Dawson are also ambassadors for the organization.

Mario’s actions showcase faith in his Latino community, and his commitment to being a positive force for not only us, but for everyone. Luckily, he is a Latino focused on the empowerment of society more so than the personal gratification of his ego. More than anything he wants us, his fellow Latinos, to elevate and have a voice. How can we not support that?

[Originally published in LatinTRENDS Magazine]